Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Losing my Dysfunctional Family: Guiding Light Goes Off the Air

On Friday afternoon, I’ll lose part of my family. Admittedly, it is the most dysfunctional side, with more affairs, marriages, scandals, and people coming back from the dead than everyone else I know combined. But, they still feel like family.

Who am I talking about? Why the residents of Springfield on the daytime Soap Opera “Guiding Light.”

After 72 years on the air, “Guiding Light,” which the NY Times calls “the oldest longest-running scripted program in broadcasting history” will be replaced with a game show.

My love affair with Soap Operas started young. My mom tells me that she had to cut back on the daytime viewing when I was a toddler. The story goes that we were having one of those talks in the car that every mom knows well and I brought up babies. She stated that you had to be married to have a baby and I replied that Cricket was having a baby and she wasn’t married. Cricket, of course, was a Soap character!

When I was a young girl, Phillip and Beth were the ultimate love story. I vividly remember him weeping at her grave one Christmas. (Of course, Beth later came back from the dead and they both went a bit crazy. Beth married Alan, Phillip’s adoptive father, after Alan shot Phillip. Then Phillip came back from the dead a few years later. But, that’s another story entirely.) And I can't forget Riva and Josh. Their wedding at Cross Creek—she arrived via boat and carried a parasol—was the ideal wedding in my adolescent mind. (Let’s not discuss the fact that before marring Josh, her childhood sweetheart, she had been married to both his father and brother.)

Admittedly, I deserve part of the blame for the cancellation of “Guiding Light.” At one time in my life, I watched religiously. It was a family affair: my mom and maternal grandparents (that’s right, my grandfather was a devoted fan as well, though he’d never publically admit it!) watched every weekday at 3pm on CBS and I did as well. Now, I can barely follow the story line on the rare occasions when I turn on the TV in the afternoon. If anything, “Guiding Light” (and the rest of the CBS daytime line up) occasionally serves as background while I pay bills on-line or fold laundry during my son’s afternoon nap.

I won’t be home Friday afternoon to tune in to the final show, but I’m setting my DVR for it right now. Even though I haven’t been as devoted to them as they have been to all of us in recent years, I sure will miss the Bauer, Spaulding, Lewis, Marler and Cooper families. Thanks for so many years of great memories!

Original post to DC Metro Moms. You can find more from Aimee Olivo at Smiling Mama and Out by Ten.

Dr. Blondie said...
I cannot believe that Guiding Light has been on the air for 72 years! I too loved soap operas as a child/teenager. I think that I was addicted to Days of Our Lives for about ten years.... during the beginning of Bo and Hope's relationship, but as best I can tell from the magazines at the grocery store checkout, they're back (of course!) and still kicking!

Kate Coveny Hood said...
I LOVE that story from your childhood.

I only really watched soaps as a pre-teen and in highschool - but I sure did love All My Children, Another World and SANTA BARBARA (like you - I was so sad when that went off the air - even though I never watched it anymore.)

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

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